AMD has its head in the cloud, and that may not be such a bad thing. The chip maker this week released another Opteron 1000 Series processor, codenamed Suzuka, with performance per watt and compatibility taking center stage.
"The flexibility of four cores and a low-cost infrastructure gives customers an edge when designing for a cost-effective or power-efficient platform," John Freuhe, director of business development for server and workstation products at AMD, wrote in a blog post.
Suzuka, which was designed for cloud computing, Web servers, small business servers, and other applications where lower power consumption is the primary focus, runs at 2.9GHz with 6MB of cache. And because Suzuka is based on the same core as Shanghai, existing AM2 platforms should only need a BIOS update to run the chip.
"The performance gains they are touting in the press, we are not seeing in our applications. We are literally in real-time trying to figure out why that is and if there are optimizations that we can do. Otherwise, we are kind of left with current-generation technology and current-generation scale," he said during a Q&A session involving GigaOM’s founder Om Malik.
He said companies like Facebook and Amazon require their servers to be both power-efficient and affordable. Heiliger also commended Google for its server-designing prowess.
Thanks to fierce competition between two GPU juggernauts and a worldwide economic recession, never has there been a better time for gamers to trade in their scratch for the latest videocard technology from either AMD/ATI or Nvidia. The price to performance ratio is at an all time high, but before we get too spoiled on falling prices for increasingly powerful GPUs, AMD has made it clear that it has no intention of duking it out with Nvidia in a price slashing war.
"Are we interested in winning share by losing money on every GPU we ship? No," said Rick Bergman, AMD's senior vice president. "We're not going to engage in that and we haven't had to."
Bergman's comments came in response to questions about what the chip maker was doing to compete with Nvidia at the low end. But according to Bergman, AMD has been able to entice OEMs with better stability and performance per dollar versus Nvidia's aggressive pricing strategy.
"If you go and look at Dell, HP, or Acer's website, you'll actually see a lot of ATI graphics at the entry level," Bergman added.
Bergman also played off any concerns AMD might have with Intel's upcoming Larrabee, while also adding that in a year from now, AMD will "have something new and exciting," but did not elaborate on what that might be.
Patriot Memory has buddied up with AMD to release its first co-branded Gamer Series memory kit, the AMD Black Edition Ready DDR3 G Series.
"Platforms featuring the latest socket AM3 for AMD processors, including the AMD Phenom II processor family, takes full advantage of the new Patriot Gamer Series memory," said Leslie Sobon, VP of Product Marketing, AMD. "Combined with AMD OverDrive software version 3.0.2, users can experience a state-of-the-art, real time over-clocking utility that allows unprecedented control over their AMD processor / chipset and memory to help push the performance threshold to it peak limits."
Marketing jargon aside, the kits come in both DDR3-1600 and DDR3-1333 frequencies in Low Latency (9-9-9-24) and Enhanced Latency (7-7-7-20) form. Voltage requirements vary by kit, ranging from 1.5V (DDR3-1333 Low Latency) to 1.9V (DDR3-1600 Enhanced Low Latency).
AMD hopes it will be able to wrest a sizable chunk of the global notebook market from Intel with the help of its new Tigris notebook platform, which is due out in September. According to a Digitimes report, quoting sources at notebook vendors, the company expects to gain back 15% share of the notebook market. Some of the major notebook vendors, HP, Toshiba, Acer and Asus, are said to have already placed orders for AMD’s upcoming Tigris notebook platform.
AMD will replace its Better by Design strategy with a new open platform strategy called AMD Vision Technology in September – to accompany the launch of its next-gen Tigris notebook platform, according to a Digitimes report, which cites unnamed sources at notebook makers. Under the new open platform strategy, Notebooks will be classified into three levels based on their processor and GPU, with each receiving a label signifying its level. The three levels that will be used to classify notebooks will be AMD Vision Ultimate, AMD Vision Premium and AMD Vision.
AMD has repeatedly said it has no intention of releasing a netbook processor and competiting in a market now dominated by Intel and it's Atom platform. Either Gateway didn't get the memo or decided to ignore it, as the Acer-owned OEM this week introduced the Gateway LT3100 netbook with an AMD Athlon 64 L110 processor (1.2GHz, 612KB L2 cache, 800MHz frontside bus) inside.
"The Gateway LT3100 is a smart netbook choice -- it gives customers the freedom to connect to the Internet for everything from staying up-to-date on the latest viral videos and enjoying digital music and photos, to checking on the status of projects and studying for classes," said Ray Sawall, senior product marketing manager for Acer America.
Other goodies include an 11.6-inch LED screen with a 1366x768 resolution, 2GB of DDR2 memory, 250GB hard drive, ATI Radeon X1270 graphics, WiFi, webcam, three USB 2.0 ports, 6-cell battery, and Windows Vista Basic with SP1.
The LT3100, available in black or red, carries an MSRP of $399, however no release date has yet been set.
According to Rick Bergman, AMD’s Senior Vice President for Platforms, he and his crew are looking to beat Nvidia to the world of DX11.
According to Bergman, “We want to supply hardware to Microsoft and software developers so they can make DX11 games on our hardware first.” This would put AMD ahead of Nvidia, something that hasn’t happened for several years, thanks to Nvidia’s dominance in the DX10 market. “We were kind of fighting from behind, but with DX11 it feels like we’re ahead this round.”
Despite reports that very few game titles would take advantage of DX11, Bergman is keeping up his enthusiasm. Reportedly, he knows of a handful of independent software vendors that are working “eagerly” to release games.
Sure, everyone’s heard of OnLive when it comes to gaming in the cloud, but few have heard of OTOY.
OTOY is a small company that’s looking to bring server-side 3D rendering to any client. Sure, this sounds pretty standard, but where it differs from OnLive is key – it allows you to play these games from any browser, and any platform with no plugins or downloads. And, thanks to two big partners that go by the names AMD and EA, it could become a reality.
All that’s required of the gamer is a broadband connection and a computer, and you can get games at up to 720p graphics (again, with no plugins or downloads). There’s reportedly also a way to get 1080p graphics, but it’s a bit more intensive.
No word yet on how much this service will cost or when it’ll come to fruition, but it’s looking pretty slick. You can see two videos of it in action here and here.
AMD isn't happy with the way some battery claims are made, saying the reliance on a test called MobileMark 2007 doesn't yield an accurate indicator of what to expect. The problem, says Patrick Moorhead, a vice president for marketing at AMD, is that the parameters for the test include dimming the screen the just 20 percent brightness, turning off WiFi, and making sure no music, video, games, or webpages are running. Not only is the test flawed, says Moorhead, but it also favors Intel.
"Intel is advantaged in this environment because they have optimized their architecture to have bettery battery life when the computer isn't doing anything," Moorhead said.
Intel shrugged off AMD's complaint, saying if the No. 2 chip maker is so passionate about the subject, it would "encourage them to bring any new proposals or edits to the nonprofit industry consortium called BAPCo."
But is AMD out of line? Not likely. In the June issue of Maximum PC, Editor-in-Chief Will Smith discussed the topic in his Ed Word titled "Notebook Battery Life is a Trap."
"You'd think testing battery life would be straightforward, but benchmark results rarely jibe with real-world results -- in part, because there are an infinite number of potential workloads (each tapping power differently), and battery life decays over time," Smith wrote.
AMD warns that either the industry starts better regulating itself, or there's a high possibility of a consumer filing a lawsuit or the FTC stepping in.